Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drinking from the Fire Hydrant

This video really accurately describes one of the huge risks of trying to incorporate technology in the classroom

One risk is using too little technology. Kids so often feel like they are downshifting to come into schools. They are used to such rush of information and interaction that sitting still for even 20 minutes and viewing a PowerPoint is mind numbing. Too little tech is a problem

On the other hand, too much tech is the other problem. Sometimes I see people in my line of work who try to incorporate too much at once. For example, I can give a simple instruction:
Place a Creative Commons licensed image in your PowerPoint then share the .pps on your web page.
Straightforward right, but not really. If I as an instructor don't slow down and analyze the tasks I am actually asking of a teacher/student inexperienced with technology, I may not realize the embeded/implied tasks.
Here they are:
  1. Define/understand Creative Commons
  2. Learn how to search for CreativeCommons licensed information
  3. Locate a CreativeCommons licensed image
  4. Download and save the Creative Commons Licensed image
  5. Record the necessary attribution details ie: cite your source
  6. Understand what PowerPoint is and that you can insert images
  7. Learn to insert images into PowerPoint
  8. Insert your CreativeCommons licensed image
  9. Be able to manage your files well enough to remember where you saved it and how to navigate back to and then insert your previously saved CreativeCommons licensed image
  10. Understand 'Save' options in PowerPoint and correctly save the file in the correct format
  11. Have a web page
  12. Be able to remember how to login to the web page
  13. Be able to upload files to the web page and properly host a link to the file
  14. Be able to verify that your web page is published
  15. Upload the file to the web page (see step 9)
  16. Share the URL with me as an instructor
  17. Do all this while managing classrooms of rowdy kids or juggling 7 other classes each with similar expectations
What I am getting at, is the fact that those of us who are immersed in technology are unconsciously competent. We do some things reflexively. It's like asking Michael Phelps when to breath during the crawl. He doesn't think about it. He just does it.

So the lessons:
  • Don't Confuse volume for rigor! Asking someone to do lots of things is not a substitute for them learning a few things well
  • Analyze your tasks, what is embedded. What else are they going to have to learn to do the overall task
  • Give choices! When teaching teachers or students technology, give them 10 options for projects/task and ask them to do 5. For example: insert a picture, sound, shape, WordArt, SmartArt, or video instead of insert a picture, sound, shape, WordArt, SmartArt, and video
Drinking from the fire hydrant is so impossible because it is usually either closed down tight or wide open. Lets learn to use a garden hose when teaching technology.

No comments:

Welcome to Jorgie Learning

I really am learning and this blog is maintained both as a record of some of what I am doing as well as a place for me to train and teach others about creating an online presence. So please don't mind the dust. We aren't remodeling we are learning!

Visit some of my other blogs or the other blogs I find mildly entertaining for a more polished feel.